Look who’s buying: Property Franchise Group sets new record for acquisitions

August 17, 2018

The Property Franchise Group has helped its franchisees make more acquisitions so far this year than for the whole of 2017. It has also announced ambitious  plans for next year.

The group, owners of Martin & Co, Whitegates, CJ Hole, Ellis & Co, Parkers and EweMove has assisted its franchisees to acquire 16 portfolios and a total of 2,107 tenanted managed properties this year. The numbers are set to grow between now and the end of the year.

Group CEO Ian Wilson said: “We have offers agreed on another 1,139 managed properties, so we should comfortably exceed 3,000 properties added to the portfolio in 2018, and we want to build on this and add another 4,000 in 2019.”

Wilson said that the Group assists its franchisees to target businesses, negotiate the sale and ensure that there is funding for completion.

He added: “Uniquely we pay cashback to our franchisees to reward them for expanding their business. This is extremely helpful to meet their immediate cash flow demands following an acquisition, as there can be unexpected bills to pay.

“From the sellers’ point of view, they want to know that the deal will go through and that their landlords and staff will be looked after. We can provide that reassurance with our dedicated specialist acquisition team.”

The Property Franchise Group retains as its broker Sharon Titchmarsh, trading as Watson Stanley. She is the former acquisitions director at Countrywide.

Wilson said: “The smallest deal was a bolt-on portfolio of 24 properties purchased from Nidderdale Properties in Harrogate.

The biggest deal was 346 properties purchased from Castle Estates in Sheffield. Close to our Bournemouth head fffice, we helped Philip Skorochod buy a portfolio of 162 properties from Paris Lettings.

“You have to hand it to Philip, he only bought the franchise in April 2018 and he wants to buy more.

“Our franchisee Julian Bessey bought a student lettings business, A Home 4 Students, in Winchester and geographically, to date, we have bought in every region except London and Scotland, which is frustrating as we have buyers actively looking.

“A number of the transactions have been share sales which can be tax-efficient for sellers as they pay tax as low as 10% on their capital gain. Four brands have been active buyers so far this year – Martin & Co is unsurprisingly the most active, but so too has CJ Hole, Whitegates, and EweMove.”

The business would not reveal the total number of properties under management to EYE, saying this is commercially sensitive information.

Separately, the Leaders Romans Group has announced the completion of another acquisition – GPS Property Management, in Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire – and, like The Property Franchise Group,  has made it clear it wants to buy more.

The business, acquired for an undisclosed sum, has been owned and run by husband and wife team Garry and Sarah Peacock for the last eight years.

The business will rebrand to Leaders, offering both sales and lettings services. The original GPS Property Management staff will stay on.

Matthew Light, group mergers and acquisitions director, said: “Recent months have seen us continue to expand with numerous acquisitions, adding several new portfolios and branches in key markets across the UK.

“We are delighted to have acquired this well-respected business and we welcome its staff members.”

He made it clear that he welcomes approaches from agents interested in selling up.

Leaders Romans has now acquired some 150 businesses, bringing outlets to over 160 branches, with 50,000 rental properties under management, and annual revenues of over £120m.

The group is backed by private equity firm Bowmark Capital.

Source: Property Industry Eye